New Amendments Proposed to Land Legislation

The Land and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 (“The Bill”) was introduced to Parliament on 17 March 2022 in order to amend various pieces of legislation within the Department of Resources portfolio.

The Bill generally introduces minor and technical changes to various Acts, but some changes – particularly to the Stock Route Management Act 2002 (“Stock Route Management Act”), will have an impact on matters relevant to local governments.

Amendments to Land Act

The Bill proposes to amend the Land Act 1994 (“Land Act”), and some of the key amendments are set out below:

Management plans for inconsistent purpose trustee permits

Section 60(2) of the Land Act is proposed to be amended to allow a trustee permit to be issued for a purpose that is inconsistent with the purpose for which the trust land was dedicated in circumstances where a trust land management plan (“LMP”) is in place.

Local governments (as trustees of trust land) can define how they will discharge their duty of care (as required under the Land Act) and deal with the sustainable use, development, and management of trust land by way of preparing a LMP.

Greater scope for Department to “take the initiative”

A range of other amendments have been introduced that allow the Department and the Minister to “take the initiative” on particular matters to progress certain issues without first receiving applications.  Some examples are:

  • To temporarily close a road even where no application to close the road has been submitted;
  • To assess and make an offer to a lessee to convert a lease where a conversion application has not been made
  • To decide not to make an offer of a new lease before receiving a renewal application from the lessee.

Modernisation of publication requirements

Consistent with changes made to other legislative instruments, including the Local Government Act 2009, the Bill amends a number of acts, including the Place Names Act 1994, Land Act, Stock Route Management Act, and the Vegetation Management Act 1999 to allow particular decisions to be notified online, rather than published in print.

Stock Route Management Act

For those local governments with a stock route network, the Bill proposes to streamline certain matters under the Stock Route Management Act in key ways, including by allowing Councils to:

  • Charge particular application fees to cover some of the costs arising out of managing the access to the network while also giving local governments the freedom to reduce or waive fees in times of hardship (for example, during periods of drought or as a result of COVID-19);
  • No longer have to develop a working group to advise Council about the preparation of stock route management plans – the local government’s obligation to interact with the Department is limited to an obligation to consult in certain circumstances;
  • Have stock route management plans in place until another plan takes effect, or 1 year after a new State stock route network management strategy takes effect. The current duration of 4 years is proposed to be repealed;
  • Retain the proceeds of all fines imposed by Courts. Currently, the proceeds of fines must be split between Council and the Department.

Summary

The Bill has been referred to the Parliamentary Transport and Resources Committee.

Preston Law advises local governments across Queensland on the operation of various legislative instruments, including the Land Act and Stock Route Management Act.

If you wish to discuss the above in further detail, or matters under the Land Act or Stock Route Management Act generally, please contact Julian Bodenmann on 07 4052 0717.

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